WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower

Posted December 12, 2007

It’s time for the annual Geminid meteor shower! I’ll cut to the chase and tell you the logistics of watching this consistently impressive meteor shower. If you’d like to learn about the science of meteors and meteor showers, please watch December's Carolina Skies video segment.

The 2007 Geminid meteor shower peaks at about Noon EST on Friday, December 14. The best time to watch is very early Friday morning, from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. If you don’t feel like being awake during those hours, Thursday night and Friday night should be good too. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is hosting its monthly skywatching session on Friday evening from 9-11 p.m. at Jordan Lake’s Ebenezer Church Recreation Area. For directions to the site and future skywatching session dates, please visit Morehead's skywatching webpage.

2007 should be an especially good year for the Geminids because of the Moon’s phase around the peak date. The Moon can ruin a good meteor shower with its bright light, but on Friday it will be a waxing crescent setting just a few hours after sunset, leaving the majority of the night Moon-free.

The best place to look in the sky will vary depending on the time and your sky conditions. During the peak hours of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday morning, about halfway up in the sky from the horizon is best, in whatever area of the sky is darkest and free of haze or clouds.

I highly recommend a blanket to lie on or a chair that you can lean back in for comfortable viewing. Also, dress very warmly because you’ll probably want to meteor watch for more than a few minutes. Gloves and hats are a must!

As of right now (Wednesday afternoon), WRAL’s weather forecast for Friday evening is clear. Join Morehead educators at Jordan Lake on Friday night for some great meteor watching!


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • chauncey7381 Dec 14, 2007

    I know it's Friday night, but I'll be out watching since it's clear. I caught a few on Wednesday night, these meteors have long tails and move a little slower than the Perseids.

  • oldrebel Dec 14, 2007

    Since I have to work graveyard shift Friday night, I went ahead and planned on getting to a dak viewing area to hopefully see something this (Thursday night/Friday morning) evening. Got my recliner set up, soft bone pillow for straight up viewing, beef jerkey, bottled water and a blanket for when it got cool. Was laid back at 12:30 a.m., sky competely overcast...and then the drizzles started. Finally (after a very nice Chatham County deputy came by and asked me what in the world was I doing out there in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night)the drizzles let off and by 2:00 to 2:15 clouds began to break up and by 2:15 my viewing area was crystal clear,and then it started....meteors came in spurts, sometimes three or four in quick sucession, with no real trend in direction. From 2:15 to 3:15 I had a solid count of 80 with several really great zingers that left visible trails for several seconds afterwards.

  • oldrebel Dec 14, 2007

    From 3:15 till 4:00, even with scattered clouds creeping in and cluttering my sky, I still had a hard count of 54, again with several really impressive zingers amind the rest of the normal to little zippers. A grand total of 134 hard count in one and a half hours. Well worth the vigil I hope some of y'all have as good or better tonight(Friday evening/Saturday morning) when you get out there. All in all I was really tickled at the spectacle.

  • that_girl Dec 13, 2007

    Awesome. Thanks jrichuso! I think we're going to take my 9yo and go...although I do hope people won't be "plastered"! :)

  • jrichuso Dec 13, 2007

    that_girl - No, you do not need a telescope. We may have a few telescopes set up to view Mars and some other objects in the sky, but meteor showers are best seen with the unaided eye.

  • that_girl Dec 13, 2007

    Do you need a telescope if you go?

  • Stopped Counting Dec 13, 2007

    It's even fun when you're not.

  • bigredtruckman Dec 13, 2007

    It's really fun when you're plastered.